In 2018 Sinead Burgess released the wonderful, memorable album Damaged Goods. Recently she appeared at Country2Country in Sydney and Brisbane – her first shows in Australia in five years, she said – and showed why she’s worth paying very close attention to: with only a guitar for accompaniment, she had the crowd transfixed.
Ahead of C2C she released a new single, ‘Reno’, which is not drawn from Damaged Goods, which had a more acoustic-based sound. ‘Reno’ is a full-band recording, which allows Burgess to move into a more country-rock sound that compliments her storytelling style and subject matter, and detracts not at all from her vocals.
Says Burgess of the inspiration for the song: ‘I got the idea pulled up in front of a run down motel in Reno, Nevada. The rooms had these incredibly kitschy peach doors that look like they hadn’t been cleaned since the 70s, and I started to daydream about how it would feel planning a big life from such a small room. So much of my own story and yearning for growth and adventure found its way into the lyrics, and all of a sudden we ended up with a grungy, Petty-inspired song.’
The song was written with California rockers The Federal Empire (Grammy-nominated writer McKay Stevens and Chad Wolf, former front man of Carolina Liar) and recorded in Nashville. The writing and recording were part of Burgess’s Nashville Songwriter Residency Grant for 2019, awarded to her by the Australia Council for the Arts and offered to only one Australian per year.
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Sinead Burgess is a Brisbane singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist now resident in Nashville who recently released an album, Damaged Goods. Burgess is now an independent artist after being signed to a major label as a teenager and, as with so many independent Australian artists, she has produced music that has blossomed with the freedom that seems to come from independence. The quality of so much of this independently produced music is very high, the result not just of the availability of very good producers but also, one suspects, because artists feel free to explore parts of their music, and themselves, that might be more controlled under different circumstances.
Burgess has a winsome voice even when the song is about hard experiences, as is the case with her new single, ‘Praising God, Raising Hell’. Burgess wrote all of the songs and played most of the instruments on her album – this, too, must give her a sense of freedom even as it increases the work, but her love of what she’s doing is evident. This song is a fine example of a very good album that fits within the country-pop genre and which also sounds like nothing so much as Burgess sitting across from you on a stool, singing you her stories with heart and intention. It’s a privilege to be allowed to intimately into an artist’s world, and Burgess has captured that on this song and this album.
Listen to ‘Praising God, Raising Hell’ here: https://sineadburgessmusic.lnk.to/PraisingGodRaisingHell
Damaged Goods is available now.